As the stand-off between the agitating doctors and the West Bengal government continued on the sixth day on Sunday, the medicos said that they were open for talks with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the venue for which would be decided by a governing body of medical practitioners. Earlier, the agitators had insisted that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visit the city’s NRS Medical College and Hospital, the epicentre of the agitation.
"We are eagerly waiting to rejoin our duty, but from the Chief Minister's side there is no honest initiative to find a solution (of the ongoing problem)," a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors told reporters after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appealed to protestors to return to work on Saturday.
The agitating junior doctors also rubbished Banerjee's claims that a few of their colleagues visited her at the state secretariat.
"What CM has told in the press conference is not at all true. No junior doctor went to meet her. What she claimed that we are against the solution and conversation...But we want her to come to the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital listen to us and take necessary steps to serve the ailing people," he said.
The statement came after Mamata Banerjee again appealed to the agitating junior doctors in the state-run hospitals to end their strike and normalise medical services.
The chief minister said the state government had accepted all the demands of the agitating doctors and was ready to accept more.
"On Friday, I waited for the junior doctors for five hours. And today, I cancelled all my programmes for them. You must show some respect to the constitutional body," she said.
On the mass resignation of the doctors across the state, Banerjee said it was not legally tenable.
"If the junior doctors think I am incapable, they can always talk to the governor or the chief secretary... or the commissioner of police," she said.
Banerjee also said that government had not invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) even after five days of strike by the junior doctors and appealed to them to immediately rejoin service.
"We have the laws, but we do not want to use them.... We are not going to take any stringent action against any of the agitating junior doctors and hamper their career," she said at a news conference after the agitating doctors did not turn up for a meeting at 5 pm.
The agitating doctors had earlier turned down an invite for a closed-door meeting with Banerjee at the state secretariat on Saturday, and instead asked her to visit the NRS Medical College and Hospital for an open discussion to resolve the impasse.
(With PTI inputs)